Monday 6 June 2022

THE LAST PRINCESS by Shelley Wilson @ShelleyWilson72 #TuesdayBookBlog

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon (universal link)
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book:  Disclaimer: I know the author and was excited about reading this book, but this has in no way affected the content of the review; if I had not liked it, I would not have reviewed.

In a Nutshell:  YA historical, Vikings and Saxons.

I'm mad for anything about Vikings and Saxon history, and some of this book is set in an area near where I live, so I was looking forward to it.  From the way Shelley Wilson talked about it on social media as she was researching and writing, I had a feeling it would be good, and it is.

First of all, I am aware that I am decades older than the target market; I would say it's quite young YA, as it would be the sort of book I'd have loved when I was 12 or 13, and if I had a young teenage daughter I would be happy for her to read it.  I tried at all times to read it with this in mind, though it's a cracking story whatever age you are, and I very much enjoyed it.  There is one scene that is a bit more sexually explicit than I expected, but no more so than some books available in children's libraries today.

(I mention reading it with its target market in mind, because some reviews on Goodreads appear to assess it as if it were an adults' book, which must be so frustrating for both author and publisher.)

The Last Princess is loosely based on the 9th century taking of the Northumbrian throne by Aelle, starting with the murder of King Osberht, his brother.  Whether or not Shelley Wilson's Edith, the daughter of Osberht, existed, I don't know; little is definite about that period.  This novel is about her life as a Northumbrian princess, the loss of her family, and the many adventures that took her from a slave ship to Viking battlefields.   It's got the lot: fear,brutality, love, hardship, betrayal, loss - I would actually like to read a longer version for AA (actual adults!), because I  enjoyed it so much.

Edith's growth and change throughout the story is believable, and my favourite character was Jarl Aaric, the Viking leader who becomes an important part of her life.  One aspect about it that I loved was how it didn't talk down to the reader, or try to push forward certain narratives, like so much in YA-orientated fiction (written word and TV) these days.  Ms Wilson has not shied away from the brutality of the time, or given her characters present-day attitudes.  In the 9th Century, people were far more close to death than we are now, and this is reflected.

Any negatives?  Only the occasional use of the word 'gifted' where 'given' or 'gave' would have done just fine; it's an Americanism that should have been pounced on by the editor.  However, apart from wincing each time I read this (and do bear in mind that it's a pet hate of mine - you may not mind it!), I wholeheartedly recommend this book - if you have a teenage daughter, buy it for her now - she will love Edith!


  1. Thank you so much for this amazing review! It’s made my day that you enjoyed Edith’s story.

    1. I did, it was great. Well done - more Viking stories, please!!!

  2. I have just started reading a non-fic book about the Vikings which is very good. River Kings by Cat Jarman.

  3. Complete;ly agree - my review comes out tomorrow.

    1. Aha, I look forward to reading it, Noelle! x